Lauren Bush Lauren

If I told you I’d spoken to a woman named Lauren Lauren, you might giggle.

If I told you she’s the daughter-in-law of Ralph Lauren – and the granddaughter of former President George H.W. Bush – you might decide to listen up.

Lauren Bush Lauren is a model, designer, Princeton anthropology grad and founder of the FEED Foundation, a nonprofit that fights hunger around the world. On Tuesday, the charity will be one of the beneficiaries of “Holidays with a Purpose,” an invite-only shindig thrown by San Ramon-based online advertising platform Reply.

Bush Lauren told me she met Reply CEO Payam Zamani at a conference last year and started chatting with him about FEED, which has provided 60 million free meals to schoolkids in 62 countries. Zamani saw parallels to another nonprofit he supports, the Seattle-based Mona Foundation, which backs educational programs around the world.

Tuesday’s event, at the Allied Arts Guild in Menlo Park, hopes to raise $200,000 for the two charities; TV’s Rainn Wilson, another celebrity backer of the Mona Foundation, will co-headline with Bush Lauren.

Bush Lauren said the seed for FEED was planted in 2004, while she was traveling through the developing world as an ambassador for the World Food Programme. “Public service, whether it’s political or humanitarian work, was always something I grew up around,” she said. (Her father is Neil Bush; former President George W. Bush is her uncle.)

 

Lauren Bush Lauren passing food to kids at a Honduran health center

Bush Lauren at a Honduran health center – courtesy of FEED

After witnessing starvation first-hand, “I was really moved not just to yap about it but to give other people a way to engage,” she said. “World hunger is solvable; there is enough food in the world to feed everyone.” So she came up with a canvas tote called the FEED 1 Bag; proceeds from the sale of each bag can feed a child for a year through the World Food Programme.

Designing the product, though, was different than knowing how to manufacture and distribute it. That’s where her then-boyfriend, David Lauren, came in. Lauren handles communications and brand advertising for his dad’s iconic clothing company. “He’s been a great advisor, and obviously his family knows a lot about brand-building,” said Bush Lauren, who married David a year ago.

She added that social media tools like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have been key in building awareness for FEED. “I’m very excited to come to Silicon Valley,” she said.

 

 

Peter Delevett Peter Delevett (184 Posts)

Peter Delevett covers startups and venture capital for the San Jose Mercury News. He's been a journalist in Silicon Valley since the dot-com daze.